The Th1 cell regulatory circuitry is largely conserved between human and mouse

Stephen Henderson, Venu Pullabhatla, Arnulf Hertweck, Emanuele de Rinaldis, Javier Herrero, Graham M. Lord*, Richard G. Jenner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Gene expression programs controlled by lineage-determining transcription factors are often conserved between species. However, infectious diseases have exerted profound evolutionary pressure, and therefore the genes regulated by immune-specific transcription factors might be expected to exhibit greater divergence. T-bet (Tbx21) is the immune-specific, lineage-specifying transcription factor for T helper type I (Th1) immunity, which is fundamental for the immune response to intracellular pathogens but also underlies inflammatory diseases. We compared T-bet genomic targets between mouse and human CD4+ T cells and correlated T-bet binding patterns with species-specific gene expression. Remarkably, we found that the majority of T-bet target genes are conserved between mouse and human, either via preservation of binding sites or via alternative binding sites associated with transposon-linked insertion. Species-specific T-bet binding was associated with differences in transcription factor–binding motifs and species-specific expression of associated genes. These results provide a genome-wide cross-species comparison of Th1 gene regulation that will enable more accurate translation of genetic targets and therapeutics from pre-clinical models of inflammatory and infectious diseases and cancer into human clinical trials.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere202101075
    JournalLife Science Alliance
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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